Sheriff Wolfe's petition

Merri Gammage, of Ontario, at right, signs a petition that was being circulated by Cindy Lootens for Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe during a freedom of choice protest on Sept. 7. Wolfe was able to get nearly 2,500 signatures to send along with a letter to Gov. Kate Brown stating that people should have a choice in whether to get vaccinated and that her mandates to do so or lose a job are unconstitutional.

VALE — Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe was able to garner 2,484 signatures of local citizens to send along with his letter to Gov. Kate Brown regarding her mandates for COVID-19 — particularly the pending deadline for some worker classes to get vaccinated or lose their job if they cannot provide a valid medical or religious exemption — which he says are unconstitutional. Wolfe aims to send the letter and signatures to Brown next week.

Brown has already stated that workers mandated to get the vaccine who do not do so by the Oct. 17 deadline and who do not provide a valid exemption, will likely not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Brown also stated that she was going to offer sheriffs in Oregon who have been speaking out against the mandate an opportunity to tour ICU rooms that are full of COVID patients, but Wolfe says he hasn’t heard anything from Brown, as of Friday afternoon.

If the governor does extend an offer to him, the sheriff would likely decline.

“I already know,” he said. “I don’t need to go on some big tour that I don’t unfortunately have time for.”

Wolfe said U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating more worker classes, including all federal employees, to be vaccinated or lose their jobs, hasn’t made him change his stance.

“I still haven’t changed my position that I believe it’s a personal choice, and it should be left up to the individual whether they get the vaccine or not,” he said.

Wolfe says government leaders, including Brown, are using the COVID-19 pandemic to enforce unconstitutional mandates that “are testing the waters of tolerance for the loss of freedom to alleged safety.” The sheriff has also stated that his department will not enforce mandates for masks or vaccines and will resist future mandates.

Wolfe penned his letter following Brown’s announcement mandating vaccination for school staff and related volunteers, and health-care workers, which came shortly on the heels of her mandating vaccination for state employees and reinstating mask rules.

Citizens who signed Wolfe’s petition joined him in supporting his letter regarding for freedom of choice. He initially hoped to gather between 4,000 and 5,000 signatures.

Wolfe openly states he is not an “anti-vaxxer,” but that he believes in choices, and consequence for those choices, adding that it shouldn’t be anybody’s else’s business whether someone is vaccinated.

Additionally, Wolfe says in Oregon, laws — including those related to wearing seat belts — are enacted by the people or through legislative or congressional processes, not mandated by the government.

Wolfe previously said true interest in the health of citizens would also take into consideration anxiety and mental health issues caused for those faced with taking a vaccination they may not believe is safe or losing their livelihoods for not doing so.

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